By William A. Thomas
FATIMA, NOV. 27, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The ‘World Apostolate of Fatima’ met in general session in Fatima, from the 11th to the 17th of November 2012. This was the first ever General Assembly since their permanent approval as a public association of Pontifical Right. They have already 20 million members in over 110 countries on five continents. Their General Assembly meeting in Fatima hosted delegates and observers of some 25 countries from all over the world, headed up by their International President, Professor Pablo Lopez-Ortiz of Mayaguez in Puerto Rico within the protectorate of the United States of America. The General Assembly meetings are normally convoked every four years, although the Board of Trustees along with the International Secretariat hold meetings every year.
Over 50 conferences, meetings and other activities were held and coordinated by the International Secretariat (headed up by relatives of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco Marto, who were two of the three seers of Our Lady in Fatima in 1917) Mr. Nuno Prazeres and Mrs. Ana Reis are both from Fatima.
The Pontifical Council for the Laity confirmed the World Apostolate of Fatima (W.A.F.) as an International Public Association of the Faithful, with a juridical personality and with its Statutes definitively approved by Decree dated October 7, 2010, Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Mons. Josef Clemens, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, in a letter to the International President of the Association, Prof. Américo Lopez-Ortiz, pointed out that “this definitive approbation of the Statutes marks a new moment for the World Apostolate of Fatima and it is our hope that it brings a new evangelization enthusiasm in your endeavours.” The World Apostolate of Fatima believes that this is an excellent opportunity to strengthen the commitment to spreading the Message of Fatima all over the world, bringing this beam of hope and peace to the hearts of mankind. The Decree of approval does highlight that “the members of the World Apostolate of Fatima commit themselves to become faithful witnesses of the Catholic faith in their families, at work, in the parishes and communities, participating in this way in the ‘New Evangelization’ currently underway. The Association has been carrying out for the past years a series of initiatives to better meet this commitment. These include the organization of regional congresses in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America on the New Evangelization and the Message of Fatima, the formation of prayer groups, the launching of Eucharistic adoration programs for children, the coordination of programs for the visitation of the Pilgrim Virgin Statue to dioceses and parishes, publication of books, magazines, videos and websites, etc. All this to make the calls of Fatima and the Gospel reach further. The World Apostolate of Fatima and its members fulfil, by making known the urgency of the Message of Our Lady of Fatima, and its implications for the proper living of the Christian life, the aim of the Second Vatican Council in its degree on the role of the Laity in a most eminent way, but also contribute in a more profound way the imperative of the New Evangelization.
The Apparitions of Our Lady in Fatima between May 13th1917 and October 13th1917 were beyond doubt the most dramatic interventions from heaven in the course of human history. In appearing to 3 shepherd children from a local village near Fatima whose sheep were grazing in the Cova da Iria a large field which belonged to their parents, Our Lady made an urgent plea to the people of the world to turn back to God in prayer and penance and to be totally converted to Him. She gave an account of how heaven sees humanity by saying that “more people go to hell, because of the sins of the flesh and because there is no one to pray for their conversion.” Later on Our Lady would state that although there were wars raging all over Europe at that time as a result of the sin of man, there would even be a greater war if man did not convert and turn back to God in prayer and penance. By foretelling the advent of the Second World War through a sign in the sky, which appeared on the 26thof January 1938, which some called the Aurora borealis, Our Lady indicated that man was in open rebellion against God and thus the consequence was going to be death and destruction. The sign was not the borealis which is green and seen in the Northern and Southern hemispheres, this sign was a glowing red colour and was seen all over the world from Australia to Fatima and from China to the USA, it was an unmistakable last warning which humanity ignored to it pearl. The exact amount of dead from the Second World War could be as high as 300 million and even today its effects are still being felt.
The World Apostolate of Fatima now speaks and teaches in the name of the Universal Church and it business is to keep relaying the message of Fatima to a world who wants to ignore God. In supporting the work of the Apostolate, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council of the Laity said, to its International President, “I encourage you as you guide the work of the General Assembly to assist the delegates in seeking ways of using the Eucharist, the Rosary, and the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as paths for people far from God to encounter Christ and the Church, and for awakening a spirit of conversion, prayer, penance and reparation among your members in the light of the New Evangelisation.” Likewise too the Apostolic Nuncio to Portugal, Archbishop Rino Passigatio, in his message to the Congress said quoting ‘Instrumentum Laboris’ “the task of proclaiming and handing on the faith, incumbent on every Christian, in virtue of their participation in the common priesthood and the prophetic office of the Church” These he told the delegates were the best strategies that enable the fulfilment of the mission of evangelisers, a mission that springs from being baptised. He encouraged the delegates to the authentic voice of the message of Fatima and to bring the light of that message of hope to the whole world.
In his opening address to the Congress the International President, Americo Pablo Lopez-Ortiz told delegates that “there are many threats to the faith in the world today, but overcoming the moral crisis of our time is called the message of Fatima, whereby the Blessed Virgin Mary called on humanity to repent and to turn back to the faith” He went on to say that “Sister Lucia shows us the way of the Immaculate, which is the school of holiness.” The message of Fatima he said and the call to conversion had the same elements of the Gospel, which is the call to conversion, prayer and adoration, and quoting blessed Pope John Paul II, who said that these too constitute the ‘New Evangelisation’
The Congress attracted many Archbishops, bishops, and priests in addition to the dedicated lay men and women who were evidently devoted to Our Lady and to spreading the message of Fatima primarily by their own personal sanctification and prayer. The Congress was address by Bishop Antonio Marto of the diocese of Leiria- Fatima to the delight of the delegates; the Rector of the Shrine the Very Reverend Father Carlos Cabecinas also greeted the Congress.
The Congress delegates were brought to the Carmel in Coimbra where Sister Lucia spent most of her life and where she died in 2005. Bishop Virgilio Antunes, the current bishop of Coimbra, and who was the Rector of the Shrine in Fatima, concelebrated the mass, along with some 30 Archbishops, bishops, priests, and deacons. Afterwards delegates were able to speak briefly with the Carmelite Nuns in the cloister.
Members are asked to make a pledge to say the Holy Rosary every day for world peace and the wear the brown scapular as a sign of devotion to Our Lady.
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Part 2 of William Thomas’ report on the World Apostolate of Fatima General Assembly will be published on Tuesday, November 28th.
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On the NET:
For more information, go to: www.worldfatima.com or contact:
APOSTOLADO MUNDIAL DE FÁTIMA
Rua S. Vicente Paulo, 32
2495-438 Fátima (Portugal)
Tel: 00351 249 539 865
Fax: 00351 249 539 864